Rivera was supposed to fight Dominick Cruz on December 30th, in what many saw as a title shot eliminator in the bantamweight division. The latter, however, reportedly broke his arm, and Rivera is currently without an opponent.
Well, Lineker recently had this first bout of 2017, as the Brazilian fighter earned a decision win over Marlon Vera at UFC FN 119. More recently, while speaking to A.G Fight (via FloCombat), Lineker said this:
“I would fight with Jimmie Rivera. I’m at the UFC’s disposal to fight him,” Lineker said. “I’m ready. I want to fight again, and it’ll definitely be a different fight from my last performance against Marlon Vera. I’ll be more in the rhythm and John Lineker will fight as he always has: aggressively. All the time, I am ready.”
Now, stylistically, that’s a fight any real fan would love to see. But, you have to wonder if Rivera’s camp would be in favor of taking the fight. After all, Lineker is one fight removed from a loss to T.J. Dillashaw, so, Rivera’s stock wouldn’t go up that much if he were to defeat the heavy handed fighter, in terms of getting a title shot.
Speaking of Dillashaw, Lineker also said this about the bantamweight champ:
“If I were to fight TJ Dillashaw again, I’d put a different pace and rhythm on him,” Lineker said. “I wouldn’t wait that long for him [to engage first]. He would act first. I believe that if I acted first [instead], I’d be able to time his takedowns and his kicks.
“I ended up waiting for him a little bit [at UFC 207]. I think that was because I had fought a lot that year and I ended up feeling a bit too tense. But sure enough, if I could do it again, I’d enforce my own rhythm on him more to time his kicks and his takedowns.
Currently Lineker is sitting in the #5 spot at 135, so he’s likely a key win or two away from getting a title shot (which he noted in the aforementioned story). If you look at the ranks right now, maybe a bout with Raphael Assuncao makes the most sense? Who is also coming off a recent win?